You would be one hundred tomorrow,

and I would have made you a cake—

your mom’s white spice cake with what we kids used to call

cement frosting – sugar boiled to death, and slathered on

like plaster, with an old kitchen knife of Grandma’s.


I’d make you hot Lipton tea, even though it will be a scorcher of a day–

you with your sweater on, and me breaking a sweat.

We’d talk and laugh, but when I would ask about you growing up,

and what it was like in your younger days, you’d get quiet, and

change the subject to how my garden was doing.


I still think about you living with your aunt that year,

while Grandma went to Fort Worth.

I figured it out that year your

cousin’s kids came to live with us for the summer,

you adding chairs and another leaf to the table—

no explanation given.


Years later, when I brought our foster son to meet you,

you’d baked a pie and made your favorite dish,

put out your great grandma’s English china bowl

and just smiled and gave him a hug.


You’ve been gone a long time now, but I still

grow your favorite rose

and think of you when I plant my peas, using Grandpa’s hoe,

and set the table when guests are coming,

using your silverware, and folding the napkins just like you.


I’ll even make some Lipton tea on a stormy day, and read a book—

remembering you doing that, while a roast cooked in the oven,

filling the house with love, you saying “Hi” when I got back from school.


A few years ago, something great happened and I picked up the phone—

halfway through the number, I realized you wouldn’t answer the call,

and laugh when I told you the news—

I miss that, sometimes more than I think I can stand.


The other day, I drove by Great Grandma’s house,

where you were “born and raised” and learned to ride your uncle’s horse,

the old and “new” barns gone now, the road to the cemetery just grass,

a hundred years changed most everything, I think,

Except what really mattered, what was too often left




—Neal Lemery

September 2017


Wisdom I Heard This Week

The Wisdom I Heard This Week

Eckhart Tolle

“May I suggest a deeper and somewhat unusual perspective on who you are?
You are not just a person, and you are not IN the Universe.
You ARE the Universe, which IN YOU is awakening, experiencing itself, becoming conscious. That consciousness is who you are in essence. We are all fleeting expressions of it. The Universe awakens THROUGH experiencing challenges and limitations. That means YOU awaken and deepen through your challenges, as does humanity as a whole. So welcome or at least accept all that life brings you. Change what can be changed, otherwise surrender to what IS. Feel the Presence within you as the background to every experience. Know that, as Jesus put it, ‘you are the light of the world.’ “
With love
Eckhart Tolle

Johnny Moses, Salish storyteller

You decide if you want to live, or if you want to die.

If you decide you want to live, you also need to decide how you will live.

Every day is a new start, a rebirth, a new beginning. You can’t go back. You have to move ahead.

Love yourself. Respect yourself. The power of loving yourself is transformative.

Every adult in the village can be a parent. When you are growing up, you need a lot of parents.

In the Salish language,
the words for singing and crying are the same
the words for death and change are the same

(Life is a process of change. Embrace that change and move on. Be reborn.)

In Salish culture, you are not a man until you can cry for your people. When boys learn to cry and share their emotions, then they become men.

Notes from the Dalai Lama’s Talk on Compassion

Portland, Oregon, May 11, 2013

“Compassion means genuine loving kindness, the wish for others to be happy. All the world’s religions — every one — message is compassion. We need the practice of tolerance. We need the practice of forgiveness.”

People of faith who aim to practice these values must be serious about it.

“In many cases, religious practice is simply lip service. Talk compassion, do something different. Sometimes religion teaches us hypocrisy.”

“We can see among non-believers some people really dedicated to serving other people. Be a compassionate person, not necessarily a religious believer.”

“Compassion is the key factor one one’s own well-being. We are social animals, but those dogs always barking often remain lonely.”

Compassion includes tolerance and acceptance. Anger is counter-balanced by tolerance and acceptance.

Serving others is a tradition of all religions. All religions have the same potential.

Be truly, sincerely committed. Everyone needs the practice of compassion, in order to be happy. Compassion is not only for religious people.

Compassion and affection are biological in nature. (For example, nurturing a baby.) As we grow older, greed and self-centeredness erode our compassion. These are the costs of growing up.

Religious tradition builds on the biological compassion, to encourage a lifetime of compassion. All faiths have a tradition of compassion.

Affection, action, and research are our karma in our lives. When change occurs, we need to research, re-evaluate, take action, and change. Action that is positive results in happiness.

A materialistic life is a cultural habit, and is living at a superficial level. It is animal thinking. So, go broader. Humans are able to reason. Use reason to extend compassion to all levels, all people. Change your thinking.

Materialism is not happiness.

The hygiene of emotion. Our emotional state is as important as our physical state. We need to educate ourselves and others about emotional health.

This is “secular ethics”. “Secular” means to respect all religions and the non-believer.

Religion promotes basic human values, but, often, religious practices and views corrupt this. The ruling class can corrupt this, and there is often bullying.

Institutions get corrupted. We need to recognize this, change, and oppose this. Religion isn’t necessarily religious institutions.

Sincerely gentle people live better, more peaceful, happier lives, and have more friends.

Affection, a sense of concern, brings trust, brings friendship.

Fear, hate, and anger eats at our immune system. Compassion increases our immune system.

People, if they are NOT the recipient of affection early on in their lives, are less satisfied, have a lesser sense of love, are more anxious, and less happy.

Be committed. Be unified with others who are also seeking more compassion in their lives.

(compiled by Neal Lemery) May 18, 2013